I have to admit that I have had my world rocked by the recent encounters with the homeless folks living in the parks and wooded areas in the city these past few weeks. Not much stirs me….not that I am heartless, it is just that I have witnessed so much through the years that not much surprises me anymore….or at least that is what I thought.
My recent visits, along with my Urban Haven volunteers in the wooded areas around the city to help those in need of the basics to meet an immediate need like water, food, clothing and something to sleep on has really had me thinking outside the box. I live in a fairly affluent Canadian city….often described as having “old money”…..translated – they keep it for themselves! Not only is it sad to see that people are willing to turn a blind eye to the needs of other fellow citizens, but a city administration that uses their homeless to take a political advantage. This city that claims to be doing something for those caught in a life of poverty….which is yet to really be seen has instead asked their parks and recreation crews to go out in the early morning hours and clean out the only items these folks have to their name. One park and rec employee (which I will not name….actually I purposely didn’t ask him) told me directly that his crew was told to go into these areas of the city and collect the homeless folk’s stuff and depose of it….which they flatly refused. When pushed to follow orders….the crew member I spoke with said he and his coworkers planned to meet for coffee only in those spots with no intention of taking anything from the homeless. Pray for these men who are upholding the rights of human beings and protect them from city officials that would be harmful to the homeless.
Thus my lack of sleep in the past week. I don’t get to bed until midnight….up at 3am praying ….sleep and up again around 5:30am then off and on until I actually get up to head to the church for the day. Yet I am wide awake and full of energy. I worry for the folks that I meet….which surprisingly the majority we encounter are in their 40’s and 50’s. One man is turning 51 yrs old on Saturday and will spend it in a field near an old sewer pipe that he calls home with his girlfriend. Really sad. Keep M in prayer.
For now, I have to keep the emotion out of things so I can concentrate on serving these folks and helping to place them into affordable housing….that is what God expects.